Charlton struck late to rescue a point at Fratton Park. Here’s Louis Mendez’s four takeaways from the trip to the south coast.
TOPSY TURVY GAME
If you can’t come away from a late point on the road with a spring in your step, then this really isn’t the sport for you. The Addicks may have their limitations and rode their luck at times. They had the inspired Ashley Maynard-Brewer to keep them in it. But there’s nothing quite like a smash and grab at a packed and atmospheric Fratton Park to warm the November cockles.
Portsmouth are flying in League One – now unbeaten in 27 games – and were on top for large periods. They weathered an Addicks spell midway through the first half and took the lead through Abu Kamara’s volley.
The hosts really should have put it out of sight after the break, but Charlton survived a number of scares before Alfie May levelled from a seemingly impossible angle 19 minutes from time.
Parity was short-lived as Colby Bishop restored Pompey’s lead from the spot following Maynard-Brewer’s foul on Paddy Lane.
But Conor McGrandles’ 93rd-minute header meant that Charlton’s remarkable run of good luck on Portsea Island continued. They had won each of their last seven trips to Fratton Park. They may have had to settle for a point this time, but it was a very good one. You don’t get many away days in League One like that so it’s worth savouring.
An inspired performance from Charlton’s number one – blighted by the penalty he gave away.
The Aussie stopper made a handful of routine stops in the first half and could do nothing to prevent Kamara’s opener.
But he really came to life after the restart. He made two or three excellent point-blank stops but it was the adrenaline from one of those that embolden him to come racing off his line when he should not have to wipe out Lane for the spot-kick.
But there’s plenty in that display for the 24-year-old to build on. He was probably unlucky to have lost his place to Harry Isted in the dying throes of Dean Holden’s reign but has taken his chance since coming back into the side.
The Addicks had to recover from a couple of setbacks at Fratton Park – mirroring exactly where McGrandles finds himself in his Charlton career.
The former Lincoln City man is now linking up with a manager who got plenty out of him at Sincil Bank that he has clearly been unable to recreate at The Valley.
It’s easy to forget that he’s only made two league starts since arriving in SE7 – with eight further appearances off the bench – in the 18 months or so he’s been with the club. Injuries have played a big part in why Charlton fans haven’t seen much of McGrandles but the player himself has acknowledged he has to hit certain levels to make sure he does take his chance now he is getting into the squad again.
Hopefully his first Addicks goal can be the catalyst to relaunch his Charlton career. There’s still plenty of catching up he needs to do to try and rekindle the sort of form he had with the Imps.
There’s no stopping this guy. Even when second half changes saw May shifted out to the right wing, he still managed to get on the scoresheet.
Every time Michael Appleton has decided to manoeuvre his front man into a different function – whether it be in the slightly deeper 10 role or out wide as we saw briefly at Wigan and then again at Fratton Park – May has still found a way to get involved. Stick him in goal and he’ll still chip in with a few.
The energy he brings to that Charlton front line is phenomenal – and that’s before we even discuss his goal tally. 12 for the season already and scoring from an impossible angle this weekend. He really is a pleasure to watch every week.
PHOTOS: KYLE ANDREWS
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